- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In the wake of news that a gay broadcast-employees group has been approved to march in the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York, three Irish gay groups said Tuesday they are applying too — and if they’re rejected, they want the approved gay group to drop out.

“We want to march up Fifth Avenue as an Irish diaspora that has finally joined Ireland in rejecting religion-fueled bigotry. Let Irish queer groups finally take our place” in the parade, leaders of Irish Queers, the Lavender and Green Alliance, and St. Pat’s for All, said at a news conference in Manhattan.

Their announcement is adding to a growing uproar over the policy change at the centuries-old parade.

Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan has been named parade grand marshal, but he has been urged to step down owing to the mixed messages his leadership would bring. Many Catholics are also upset that the prelate said he had “no trouble” with the decision to permit OUT@NBCUniversal, a group of gay NBC employees, to march in 2015.

“You don’t honor a saint by encouraging a sin,” Phil Lawler wrote at CatholicCulture.org.

Moreover, he wrote, photographers at the 2015 parade will pursue only one picture — “the contingent from OUT@NBCUniversal marching past the reviewing stand at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, under the benign smile of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”

“Would Cardinal Dolan, as parade marshal, applaud the inclusion of Irish abortion-clinic owners or Planned Parenthood employees in a parade honoring Saint Patrick?” Virginia state Delegate Bob Marshall said in a recent letter to Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S.

“I haven’t talked to one Catholic who thinks that what Cardinal Dolan did was prudent or helpful in defending the faith, marriage or morals,” Mr. Marshall added in his letter.

Despite years of protests, gay groups have not been permitted to march in the parade, which started in 1762 and is held with the blessing of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Many clerics, including Cardinal John O’Connor, have rebuffed gay-rights groups because the church teaches that homosexual acts are sinful.

The clamor to admit gay groups has grown louder, however, and major sponsors, such as Guinness Brewery, Heineken and Sam Adams Brewery, have stopped their support of the parade, and some New York politicians, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, have refused to march.

The deal for OUT@NBCUniversal came about after NBC reportedly told parade organizers they wouldn’t broadcast the event any more unless they could have a gay group of their choice in the march, reported the Irish Voice.

But letting employees with OUT@NBCUniversal march only means “NBC saves face [and] the parade keeps NBC’s sponsorship — without doing a thing to end the exclusion of Irish [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] groups,” said Emmaia Gelman, Gaby Cryan and other leaders of the three groups.

The groups said that although they were told they, too, could apply to march, the 2015 parade is full, and there’s “pressure to shorten the parade.”

The groups said they were submitting their applications anyway, and urged OUT@NBCUniversal “to refuse to march until Irish LGBT groups march in the Irish parade, under our own banners.”

Bill Donohue, president of Catholic League, also protested the changes, saying his group was supportive of a gay marching group “contingent on a formal rule change that would also allow pro-life Catholics to march under their own banner.”

With the pressure to “shorten” the parade, “does this mean that a contingent from the pro-life community will not be marching? Stay tuned,” Mr. Donohue said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide